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Catholic U. Won't Recognize NAACP Chapter


Sat Jun 5,11:11 AM ET

By CANDACE SMITH, Associated Press Writer



WASHINGTON - The president of the NAACP is criticizing a decision by Catholic University of America not to recognize a chapter of the civil rights group on campus. "It is outright discrimination and intolerance all rolled into one," NAACP President Kweisi Mfume said Friday, just outside the campus and surrounded by about 20 activists and student chapter leaders from other universities.

He said it was the first time in decades that a university had not allowed a student chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (news - web sites). He threatened to sue if the group was unable to come to an agreement with the Roman Catholic university.

The university rejected a student's attempt to start a chapter in April on the ground that the campus already had two groups that represent black students: the Black Organization of Students at Catholic University of America and Minority Voices, an umbrella group for minority organizations.

"He did not demonstrate in the view of university officials ... that this chapter of the NAACP would fill a need that isn't already being met by organizations in existence," said Victor Nakas, university spokesman.

William Jawando, 21, who tried to start the chapter, dismissed the school's reasoning, saying there are no civil rights groups on campus.

"I think they're scared of the NAACP name and protests," said Jawando, a recent undergraduate, who will attend the university's law school in the fall.

School administrators also raised concern about the group's support of the April 25 "March for Women's Lives," an abortion rights rally. Nakas said student groups are not allowed to advocate positions that are contrary to the teachings of the church, which opposes abortion. But he said that was not the main reason for rejecting the NAACP chapter.

Official NAACP policy does not take a side in the abortion debate, Mfume said.

Nakas said the university's president, the Rev. David M. O'Connell, hopes to meet with Mfume next week. University officials plan to meet with students interested in the issue this fall. Jawando said about 30 students were committed to joining the campus group.

The NAACP has chapters at 150 colleges, including Georgetown, Fordham and St. John's universities and Trinity College "” all Catholic schools.

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040605/ap_on_re_us/catholic_university_naacp_7

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The University released a statement saying that there are two other organizations on campus that already does what this would be chapter of the NAACP would do. I am willing to accept that if it can be proven that other organizations on campus do not have overlapping organizations. If such is the case these Black folk need to join the Black organizations already in place and work with them to do what this would be chapter of the NAACP would do. Even if there is overlap in other organizations on campus, before I support the need for a NAACP chapter on campus I would want to know what these folks will do differently that the already established similar Chapters. Hopefully this is not an ego move, where this brother wants to lead his own chapter or organization because he could not rise to the top of other on campus organizations.
quote:
The university rejected a student's attempt to start a chapter in April on the ground that the campus already had two groups that represent black students: the Black Organization of Students at Catholic University of America and Minority Voices, an umbrella group for minority organizations.


The Black Organization of Students certainly sounds like an organization that would be of interest to black students. The unbrella group, Minority Voices, also sounds like a student group that might be of interest to black, latino, and asian students, amoung others.

I find it rather astounding that the university could only point to two student organizations, though, so I went to their website, in search of a list of student organizations. There is a link to such a list on the page

http://universitycenter.cua.edu/students/

but the link

http://universitycenter.cua.edu/students/studentorgs/listoforgs.cfm

does not work, unfortunately.

So I went to a similar list at my own university, Iowa State University:

http://sodb.stuorg.iastate.edu/list.php

While compiling a sublist of those organizations which might be of interest to black students is difficult (indeed, they all might), here are a sample of some student organizations here at ISU that I would expect to have black students as members, based solely on the name (and in some cases, the description) of the student organizations.

African Students Association
Black Graduate Student Association
Black Student Alliance
Black Student Org Conference
Brazilian-Portuguese Association
In Living Color
Kenya Students Association
National Society of Black Engineers
Nigerian Students Union
Organization of Latino Students
Reflejos Latinos
South Sudanese Student Assn
Students Advocating Multicultural Issues


Note that there is no student chapter of the NAACP here, but I would find it difficult to believe that students who wished to start one would be faced with the task of overcoming objections reguarding overlap.
It occured to me that it may not be fair to compare Catholic University to a iowa State University, so I went to a catholic university mentioned in the article, Georgetown University, and looked up their list of student organizations.

http://eis.georgetown.edu/web/home/student_organizations.cfm

Amoung the organizations are:

African Society of Georgetown
Black Movements Dance Theatre
Black Student Alliance
Georgetown University Chapter of the NAACP
Latin American Graduate Organization
Latin American Student Association
quote:
African Students Association
Black Graduate Student Association
Black Student Alliance
Black Student Org Conference
Brazilian-Portuguese Association
In Living Color
Kenya Students Association
National Society of Black Engineers
Nigerian Students Union
Organization of Latino Students
Reflejos Latinos
South Sudanese Student Assn
Students Advocating Multicultural Issues



I would say the only org in this group that may overlap is the Black Student Alliance and the Black Student Org Conference.

I think the key is what each of these groups mission statement says. Again, I do not know what the school true motives is for refusing to allow a NAACP chapter on campus, but if the NAACP mission is the same as the orgs already established than what is the need of a new Org.
Unfortunately, as a former administrator at a private college, I can tell you that such decisions are not uncommon for private colleges and universities. It is also within their purview to make seemingly arbitrary criterion. I fought my share of battles trying to help students start chapters of the ACLU and Amnesty International.

Also, the Greek system at most of these institutions are sacrosanct. In most instances, a disproportionate amount of alumni funding comes from former members of the Greek system. For as much trouble as they cause, none of the college presidents with whom I worked would imagine going after them.

I wish the students at Catholic U all the best in their efforts.
quote:
Originally posted by Faheem:

I think the key is what each of these groups mission statement says. Again, I do not know what the school true motives is for refusing to allow a NAACP chapter on campus, but if the NAACP mission is the same as the orgs already established than what is the need of a new Org.


The broken link to the list of student orgs at Catholic U has aparently been fixed.

http://universitycenter.cua.edu/students/studentorgs/listoforgs.cfm

Here are a few of the student organizations, together with their purposes, classifications, and affiliations. Note that "political" is a legitimate classification, although "special interest" seems to be used for issue oriented groups, too. Note also that National affiliation is allowed.

---------------------

AFRICAN STUDENTS ORGANIZATION:

Purpose: To educate the CUA community about Africa.

Classification: Cultural/Ethnic, Social

Affiliations:

Active Members: 1-25

----------------------

BLACK ORGANIZATION OF STUDENTS AT THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA:

Purpose: To promote conscious cultural awareness and foster community.

Classification: Cultural/Ethnic, Social, Special Interest

Affiliations: Local

Active Members: 1-25

----------------------

MINORITY VOICES:

Purpose: Bring Unity and foster diversity among Minority Organizations at Catholic University of America.

Classification: Community Service, Cultural/Ethnic, Social, Special Interest

Affiliations:

Active Members: 100+

----------------------

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL:

Purpose: To educate students and faculty on human rights and Amnesty's active role in protecting them.

Classification: Special Interest

Affiliations: International

Active Members: 1-25

----------------------

COLLEGE DEMOCRATS:

Our Purpose: A student driven action network dedicated to promoting democratic values and providing a voice to students using grassroots methods. College Democrats of Catholic University also prides itself on providing the best opportunities for students to flourish in the DC Political community. It aims to elect Democrats, train and engage new generations of progressive activists, and shape the Democratic Party with voices from America's youth.

Classification: Political, Pre-professional

Affiliations: National

Active Members: 51-100

--------------------------

COLLEGE REPUBLICANS:

Our Purpose: To attend and organize conservative events (speakers, etc.), to support Republican candidates, and to secure internships for our members.

Classification: Political, Social, Special Interest

Affiliations: National

Active Members: 100+

---------------------------

STUDENTS FOR LIFE:

Our Purpose: The purpose of this organization shall be to live and promote the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, specifically regarding the sactity of all human life.

Classification: Special Interest

Affiliations:

Active Members: 100+

---------------------------
Since there is no way to know what the proposed purpose statement of the NAACP would be at Catholic U, the best that I could think of for comparrison purposes is to copy the mission statement from their website.

http://www.naacp.org/past_future/mission.shtml

quote:
NAACP Mission Statement

Our Mission

The NAACP insures the political, educational, social and economic equality of minority groups and citizens; achieves equality of rights and eliminates race prejudice among the citizens of the United States; removes all barriers of racial discrimination through the democratic processes; seeks to enact and enforce federal, state, and local laws securing civil rights; informs the public of the adverse effects of racial discrimination and seeks its elimination; educates persons as to their constitutional rights and to take all lawful action in furtherance of these principles.



This seems to me to be sufficiently different from other student organizations so as not to present a problem so far as redundancy goes. I can also easily imagine individuals belonging to more than one organization.
Here's the statement from the Georgetown Chapter of the NAACP, which might be a better guide as to what the proposed purpose statement might look like, since it is actually a student organization.

http://studentorgs.georgetown.edu/naacp/

quote:
The Georgetown University Chapter of the NAACP was established in 1987. The NAACP has been responsible for bringing numerous speakers to campus as well as organizing many other campus efforts to raise community awareness.

Our Mission
To inform youth of the problems affecting Africans in the Diaspora and other people of color.

* To advance the economic, educational, social, and political status of Africans in the Diaspora and other people of color.

* To stimulate an appreciation of the African American contribution to US civilization.

* To develop an intelligent and militant youth leadership.

GU-NAACP Chapter Profile
We represent students of all colors, working together to create a diverse and unified student body. Come be a part of our organization and experience the uniqueness of others.

quote:
Originally posted by kresge:
Unfortunately, as a former administrator at a private college, I can tell you that such decisions are not uncommon for private colleges and universities. It is also within their purview to make seemingly arbitrary criterion. I fought my share of battles trying to help students start chapters of the ACLU and Amnesty International.



We have both AI and the ACLU here at ISU. What reasons are usually given for disallowing them?

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